Skip to main content

Create Beauty Even During Tough Times

Create Beauty Even During Tough Times

I bought daffodils and tulips early last October. Each day I would remind myself to plant the bulbs because time was running out. Soon the ground would be frozen and I wouldn’t be able to physically plant them.

Yet, each day something got in the way. There was far more on my mind at that point than planting bulbs, especially ones I wasn’t going to see any joy from for months!

October and November were filled with emotional roller coasters that made daffodils the last thing on my list.

The biggest thing on my mind: our second round of IVF treatments. We anxiously waited for our doctor to tell us when and what medicines I would be taking this time around. We hoped that we would not have to worry about taking shots during the holiday season, but only time would tell.

[Related: Rewiring the Brain to Bounce Back from Setbacks Faster and Easier]

Add on top of that making a touch decision: Go after my dream of being a full-time coach or stay at my job for the security of a steady salary and medical insurance? Lots of questions! Do we have enough savings to let me grow my business? If this round of IVF doesn’t work, what will we do to cover the future cost of treatment? What happens if my business doesn’t get up and running like I hoped, can we still go forward with treatment?

The icing on the cake was that during all of this, I was also preparing for the last few months of my coach training program. Filled with oral and written exams. Remember all the emotions of graduating school? They were all there.

The last thing on my mind was planting bulbs.

No one would have blamed me or even noticed if I didn’t plan the bulbs.

One day in the middle of November, right before a snow storm was supposed to hit Chicago, I took out a shovel and the bulbs. Roughly plotted where I wanted each of them to grow and dug right into the group.

[Related: Everything Happens FOR You, Not TO You]

It was a bit of a sloppy job in my mind. I had no idea if I dug deep enough or spaced them out far enough apart or too far. Some of them got dug up by squirrels, who tossed them aside when they realized they didn't like daffodil bulbs. Only time would tell if enough were still planted and would survive.

Fast forward to now. It’s spring and I’m so grateful to my past self for taking those fifteen minutes to plant bulbs. They have grown into bright yellow-and-white with yellow center daffodils and tulips with beautiful green leaves and colors just about to give us a show.

I look back and realize that planting those bulbs was a gift I gave to myself and my husband. It was a gift that I had no idea would bring us so much joy and appreciation during a time where we are all locked down.

They are also a reminder to me that despite the circumstances around me, I can continue to plant what I desire in my life. What great timing for that reminder, right?

COVID-19 has disrupted a lot of our lives. It has brought up concerns that none of us were considering just six months ago. Today, I’m even more worried about my health, my family’s health, and my friends' health. I’m concerned about how to make a large transition in our lives with bringing a baby into the world on top of all the changes we face daily.

But then I walk by the daffodils and they remind me that I planted them when life was tough. It was a different type of tough, but it was still tough. I look at them and know that each and every one of us can create something out of this.

It can look like many different things. It might be taking a new look at our plans and deciding to still go for them. It might be asking ourselves the question, What will we keep and what will we let go of from the last normal? Or it might be something simple, like creating a gratitude practice. Either way, we can take a moment to plant something new today and see it flourish over the course of the next five to six months.

Go and plant something, because our world will look different then and you might just need the reminder of what comes out of making one little thing happen today that springs you forward tomorrow.

And if you happen to be near my home – I hope you enjoy the daffodils and tulips.

[Related: Learn to Channel Anxiety into Imagination]


Jamie Martin is a life and leadership coach who helps women who have been going and going and going for so long that they feel like they've lost themselves. She helps her clients give themselves permission to put themselves first, create a plan, and go after their dreams.

Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.


Continue learning with this Ellevate Playbook:

Start your day off with The Morning Boost, our newsletter with everything you need to take your career to the next level – all from members of the Ellevate community.

By sharing your email you agree to our Terms of Use & Privacy Policy

By sharing your email you agree to our Terms of Use & Privacy Policy


Thank you! Career advice and opportunities are on the way to your inbox.

Add your zip code, so we can invite you to our local events!